International Trade Center (ITC)

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International Trade Center (ITC)
International Trade Center

Organization type Intergovernmental Organization
Abbreviation ITC
management Pamela Coke-Hamilton
since July 2020 Jamaica
status active
Founded 1964
Headquarters Geneva Switzerland
Upper organization United NationsU.N. United Nations
World Trade Organization

The International Trade Center ( ITC ) is a multilateral agency for world trade, which has a joint mandate of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN) mediated through the World Trade and Development Conference (UNCTAD).

History and task

ITC is the successor organization of the International Trade Information Center , which was founded in 1964 by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to “support the export efforts of developing countries by providing information about markets and marketing and to help them develop and promote export structures for this to train the necessary personnel. ”In order to bundle the export promotion efforts of the United Nations, the GATT , which at that time and in contrast to its successor organization WTO, was part of the UN system, and the newly founded UNCTAD, agreed to establish the activities of the two organizations to merge a subsidiary for technical support in international trade. The agreement was reached in 1967 and the International Trade Center (the restrictive part of the name information was dispensed with) was officially founded on January 1, 1968.

Through its work, the ITC contributes directly to ten of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals . These include Goal 1 (no poverty), Goal 2 (no hunger), Goal 4 (Quality Education), Goal 5 (Gender Equality), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), Goal 9 (Promotion of Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure ), Goal 10 (Reduced Inequalities), Goal 12 (Responsible Behavior in Production and Consumption), Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and Goal 17 (Partnership for the Goals).

The ITC is headquartered in Geneva , Switzerland . 300 employees with more than 80 nationalities work there. In addition, the ITC has project offices in various countries that employ experts from the relevant regions.


The ITC is involved in the technical support of commercial projects in countries around the world.

Promotion of trade in Afghanistan

After Afghanistan's accession to the WTO in 2016, a program was launched to strengthen trade for the country that had been destabilized by civil war ( Afghanistan: Trade for Economic Growth & Regional Cooperation ). The initiative of the European Union (EU) and the ITC sees trade as a motor for economic growth and job creation, for reducing poverty and strengthening regional cooperation. Afghan companies should be made competitive for regional and global markets by creating business-friendly framework conditions and increasing Afghan trade capacities. A three-year plan (2016–2019) was drawn up for the program, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry is in charge of implementation. Financing is provided by the EU, the budget is 4.5 million euros.

Ethical Fashion Initiative

The Ethical Fashion Initiative brings together artisans and well-known fashion companies such as Stella McCartney , Marni , Vivienne Westwood , the fair trade fashion label Edun and Camper . This collaboration helps fashion designers from developing countries such as Kenya , Burkina Faso and Haiti to gain an economic perspective by highlighting their specific artistic skills and manual production. The initiative offers mentoring programs for African designers and cooperation across Africa.

EuroMed Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism

The EuroMed Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism includes a free online portal for country and product-specific information on taxes and duties, import and export processes and market requirements. The information is regularly updated through a network of national observatories in each of the participating Mediterranean countries. The EuroMed information service is available in English, French, Arabic and Turkish.

The mechanism is intended to promote economic cooperation, since the EuroMed states have not yet been involved in regional trade to the desired extent due to a lack of availability and transparency with regard to trade-related data.

The project is funded by the European Union (EU) and the ITC has been commissioned with the implementation.

EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance

The EU - Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance -Project (German: project to support trade between the EU and Sri Lanka) aims to increase the trading skills of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Sri Lanka in regional and EU markets .

The project is set to run for four years (2016–2020) and an EU-funded volume of 8 million euros. It is intended to support the export capabilities of SMEs in areas such as spice and food trade and information technology.

The project defines standards for cross-border trade procedures, which so far have often restricted market access, especially for SMEs.

Gambia Youth Empowerment Project (YEP)

The Gambia Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) aims to improve the skills and employment opportunities of people who are concerned with migration plans or who have returned after attempting migration. The ITC supports the employment and professional independence of young people through training and partnerships with national and international institutions to develop skills.

Netherlands Trust Fund - Phase III (NTF III)

The Netherlands Trust Fund III (NTF III) - Export Sector Competitiveness Program followed NTF I and NTF II in 2013. It was based on an agreement between the Dutch Center for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) at the Ministry of Buitenlandse Zaken , the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands , and the ITC. The aim of the program is to strengthen export competitiveness in the IT sector in Bangladesh , Kenya and Uganda , in the tourism sector in Myanmar , in avocado production in Kenya and in coffee cultivation in Uganda.

Non-tariff measures

The non-tariff measures programs (dt. Non-tariff measures program) creates an interactive platform that represents the non-tariff barriers to trade measures for international trade transparent.

The program is a multi-agency initiative that helps countries find solutions that meet their specific needs. The non-tariff measures program works closely with the respective national and regional actors.

Promoting intra-regional trade

The Promoting Intra-regional Trade Program (German program to promote regional trade) was founded in 2013. It aims to enhance the export skills of honey, mango and spice producing SMEs in Kenya , Tanzania and Zambia . It is a three-year program run by the ITC in collaboration with leading organizations in the participating countries.

The Promoting Intra-regional Trade Program is funded by the Government of Finland .

Trade and environment

The market for certified products based on natural resources helps to reduce poverty and protects the environment. Problems with standards and regulations and a lack of information represent a significant obstacle to market access for entrepreneurs in developing countries. International regulations represent a further obstacle. The ITC tries to alleviate these problems through trade and environmental protection programs and SMEs on this To make the market competitive.

Women and commerce

The Women and Trade Program is an initiative that aims to create a common platform for 1 million women entrepreneurs in trade by 2020. This initiative thus contributes directly to the UN sustainability goal no. 5 (gender equality).


Within the Women and Trade Program , the SheTrades initiative , which is one of the most important programs of the ITC, occupies a prominent place in that it offers women entrepreneurs a platform to network with markets. The app allows them to share information about their companies, increasing their visibility and enabling them to join forces and internationalize. This helps to involve more women entrepreneurs in the supply chains.

The platform was developed as part of a competition for appropriate proposals. The winner, Greenbell Communications from Kenya, was able to team up with Google and the Brazilian communications company CI&T for further development. The result was the SheTrades platform . It was presented at the International Women in Business Forum in Nairobi in 2015 . Since then, a large number of organizations have registered women entrepreneurs on this platform as members of their networks.

Youth and Trade Program

The Youth and Trade Program aims to develop a strong environment for young entrepreneurs and give them the support they need. This is also intended to help them grow internationally, while at the same time providing income opportunities that give the economy growth impetus.

The program directly supports UN Sustainable Development Goals No. 4 (promoting education) and Goal No. 8 (decent work and adequate growth).

Market analysis tools

The ITC developed various free online market analysis tools such as the Export Potential Map , the Investment Map , the Market Access Map , the Procurement Map , the Standard Map and the Trade Map .

Export potential map

The Export Potential map is an online tool that enables companies and countries to determine which goods and services are required where in the world. With precise economic data, companies should be able to open up new markets, national politicians should be able to optimize support programs for the companies in their countries. The Export Potential Map contains information on 222 countries and territories.

Investment Map

The Investment Map was created to help investment promotion agencies (IPAs) in selected key sectors to identify potential investors both domestically and abroad and also to examine opportunities for cooperative ventures. It contains a large amount of information and statistics on global investment behavior and trade, on taxes, duties and fees as well as the activities of international corporations, and thus allows an analysis based on countries, trading partners and economic sectors.

The Investment Map was created by the World Trade and Development Conference (UNCTAD) and the ITC in partnership with the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which is part of the World Bank Group .

Market Access Map

The Market Access Map brings together information on tariffs and tariff quotas, regulations and guarantees of origin, non-tariff regulations and trade statistics. This type of information is needed to assess the opportunities in export markets.

Procurement Map

The Procurement Map was developed by the ITC to improve entrepreneurial activity and market opportunities through precise information on over 150,000 public tenders . The procurement map enables a search by country and economic sector and thus the identification of possible buyers.

Standard map

The Standard Map provides verified and transparent information on more than 200 voluntary sustainability standards and similar initiatives in a wide range of areas from food quality to safety. This allows agricultural and technical producers, brand owners , intermediaries, researchers and politicians to identify standards that are relevant to their own area. This makes it possible to determine where you stand compared to other actors in the value chain from a sustainability perspective .

Trade Map

The trade map developed by the ITC enables strategic market research through detailed statistics on international trade flows. It helps to measure competitiveness in trade from a national and sectoral point of view and identifies promising products and markets for both companies and trade support institutions.


SheTrades Global

SheTrades Global is an annual two-day conference. SheTrades supports initiatives to promote women-led companies worldwide. The first event took place in 2011, until 2018 the title was Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum .

Conference in Geneva on Sustainable Development (2013)

Trade for Sustainable Development Forum (T4SD)

The Trade for Sustainable Development Forum (T4SD) is an annual major event of the ITC that brings together politics, business and trade in order to reduce the discrepancy between the demands of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and previous successes.

Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) World Conference and Network

The Trade Promotion Organization Network was founded in 1996 with the intention of creating a platform for a dynamic exchange of information about experience, best practice and cooperation between Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs). Synergies should also be made possible through continuous mutual support in online and offline forums.

The TPO Network World Conference takes place every two years and is open to all institutions commissioned to provide trade-supporting technical services.

During the TPO Network World Conference , the TPO Network Awards will be given to outstanding national TPOs. The TPOs take part in the competitions in different categories that correspond to the level of development of the respective countries.

World Export Development Forum (WEDF)

The World Export Development Forum (WEDF) is an annual global platform with the aim of further developing SMEs . The first conference took place in 1999. More than 600 influential national and international politicians, heads of trade organizations, managers and representatives of international institutions take part in the event.

The WEDF offers high-level plenary sessions, workshops, but also low-threshold meeting opportunities for the individual participants, which enables the exchange of current innovations, processes and political events and creates powerful networks.


In order to support small and medium-sized enterprises and their participation in international trade, the ITC and its partner organizations WTO and UNCTAD hold a variety of events. Examples of this partnership include the WTO Public Forum and the Aid for Trade conference .

Executive Directors

Since its inception in 1964, the ITC has had eight executive directors. This post was vacant twice, namely in the early 1970s and early 1990s.

The Executive Director of the ITC holds the rank of Deputy Secretary General in the United Nations system . The Executive Director and his deputy are appointed by the heads of the two parent organizations, the General Director of the WTO and the General Secretary of UNCTAD .

Executive Director nationality from to
Herbert L. Jacobson United StatesUnited States United States 1964 1971
unoccupied - 1971 1975
Victor E. Santiapillai Sri LankaSri Lanka Sri Lanka 1975 1979
Padinjarethalakal Cherian Alexander IndiaIndia India 1979 1981
Goran Engblom SwedenSweden Sweden 1981 1992
unoccupied - 1992 1994
J. Denis Bélisle CanadaCanada Canada 1994 2006
Patricia Francis JamaicaJamaica Jamaica 2006 2013
Arancha González Laya SpainSpain Spain 2013 2020
Dorothy Ng'ambi Tembo come on. ZambiaZambia Zambia Jan. 2020 July 2020
Pamela Coke-Hamilton JamaicaJamaica Jamaica since July 2020


The work of the ITC is funded by contributions from the private sector such as foundations and banks, by member countries and international organizations.

Individual evidence

  1. accessed on July 29, 2020
  2. ^ GATT (1967), “Joint GATT / UNCTAD Trade Center: Note by the Director-General”, L / 2890 (6 Nov 1967), page 7
  3. ^ See General Assembly Resolution 2297, document symbol A / RES / 2297 (XXII).
  4. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Our role in the UN and WTO. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  10. ^ ITC, I. (2017). SheTrades Global. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  12. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Trade for Sustainable Development Forum 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  13. ^ ITC News. (2016). E-directories launched for Ugandan, Kenyan IT businesses. ITC News. Retrieved from
  14. ^ ITC News. (2015). ITC launches export promotion training for Myanmar tour operators. ITC News. Retrieved from
  15. ^ ITC News. (2013). Netherlands contributes EUR 6 million to ITC for export-led job creation. ITC News. Retrieved from
  16. ^ ITC, I. (2012). ITC launches NTM survey in Tanzania. ITC News. Retrieved from
  17. All Africa. (2015). Kenyan, Tanzanian Mango Exporters Gain Access to Middle Eastern Markets. Retrieved from International Trade Center. (2015). ITC partners with CFYI and YBI for youth entrepreneurship. Retrieved from
  18. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Promoting intra-regional trade in Eastern Africa. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  19. ^ International Trade Center. (2017). Trade in Environmental Goods and Services: Opportunities and Challenges (pp. 25-27). Geneva. Retrieved from dead link /! ... nourl  ( page no longer available )
  20. ^ ITC Communications. (2012). US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognizes ITC's work with women entrepreneurs. ITC News. Retrieved from
  21. ^ ITC News. (2015). Kenya's GBC team is the winner of the 2015 WVEF Tech Challenge. ITC News. Retrieved from
  22. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Youth and Trade Program. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  23. ^ International Trade Center. (2015). ITC partners with CFYI and YBI for youth entrepreneurship. Retrieved from
  24. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Home | Export potential map. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  25. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Foreign investment opportunities, FDI statistics, company data, trade and tariff data. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  26. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Foreign investment opportunities, FDI statistics, company data, trade and tariff data. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  27. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Procurement Map - Home. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  28. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  29. (ITC), I. (2017). Trade Map - Trade statistics for international business development. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  30. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Home | Export potential map. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  31. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Foreign investment opportunities, FDI statistics, company data, trade and tariff data. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  32. (ITC), I. (2017). Market Access Map - Improving transparency in international trade and market access. Retrieved September 11, 2017 from
  33. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Procurement Map - Home. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  34. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  35. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Trade Map - Trade statistics for international business development. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  36. ^ ITC, I. (2017). SheTrades Global. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  38. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Trade for Sustainable Development Forum 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  39. ^ ITC, I. (2017). TPO Network World Conference and Awards 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  40. ^ ITC, I. (2017). World Export Development Forum. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
  41. For short bios of each of the six Executive Directors, please see Stephen Browne and Sam Laird 2011, The International Trade Center: Export Impact for Good , Routledge, pages 31-32.
  42. For an overview of all positions paid out of ITC's regular budget, please see the biennial budgeting and planning documents of the UN General Assembly. For example: General Assembly 2009, Proposed program budget for the biennium 2010-2011 Part IV International cooperation for development Section 13 International Trade Center UNCTAD / WTO, Document symbol A / 64/6 (Sect. 13) /Add.1. The UN's Official Document System provides a convenient search tool for such documents.
  44. accessed on April 27, 2019